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Thursday, 6 December 1973
Page: 2541

Senator MAUNSELL (QUEENSLAND) -Has the Leader of the Government in the Senate seen a statement by the Chairman of the Sydney Stock Exchange that the confidence of industry has been destroyed by this Government? As an increasing demand for goods must be matched by an increase in production, does the Minister agree that the present shortages of goods in many fields are the direct result of this lack of confidence in industry and the consequent reluctance to expand production?

Senator MURPHY -It is true that I do not get much chance to read the newspapers, but every time I get through to the financial columns of the newspapers it is obvious from what I read that industry is booming and enormous profits are being made. What is happening in Australia is that industry is flat out to meet the consumer demands of this community which is going through an unparalleled period of prosperity. Not only is the community pressing with its demands for goods of Australian industry but also there has been an enormous increase in imports. The Government, by the 25 per cent tariff cut, has endeavoured to make it easier for the community to spend money in this period of prosperity to buy more goods from outside as well. One of the troubles, though, is that because of the lack of power of the Government over the management of the economy it is not possible to see to it that the goods are available to the community at the prices at which they ought to be available. Various practices are operating which produce inefficiency in industry. The honourable senator would be aware of that. It is accepted by all political parties that unfair and restrictive practices are producing inefficiency in industry and forcing up prices. When we can get the Senate to face up to them and deal with them, I think we will probably find that some of the bottlenecks in the production and smooth distribution of goods will be removed.

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